Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms is taking a stand in the ongoing national crisis involving child immigrant detainees.
Bottoms on Wednesday signed an executive order that blocks the Atlanta city jail from housing more federal detainees facing possible deportation, saying she is against the separation of immigrant children from their parents, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.
“The inhumane action of family separation demands that Atlanta act now,” Bottoms said in a statement published by the news organization. “On behalf of the people of Atlanta, I am calling upon the Trump administration and Congress to enact humane and comprehensive measures that address our broken immigration system.”
In taking this step, Bottoms is joining other entities that are taking a stand against the policy. American and United this week asked the government not to fly detainees on their airplanes.
Bottoms announced the decision Wednesday, just after President Trump signed an executive order reversing the separation policy, after nationwide pressure escalated in recent days. Critics, however, say the order does not call for separated families to be immediately reunited.
Atlanta has long stirred up criticism for holding detainees for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, according to the Journal-Constitution. On Wednesday, there were 205 such detainees in Atlanta’s city jail.
Lt. Gov. Casey Cagel, a Republican candidate for governor, suggested via Twitter that he was not pleased with the mayor’s move. “I have led to outlaw and defund sanctuary cities and WE WILL uphold our laws,” he tweeted.
Immigrant advocacy group Project South praised the mayor, according to the Journal-Constitution.
“For years, we had been calling upon the City of Atlanta to match its rhetoric of being welcoming towards immigrant with action,” said Azadeh Shahshahani, Project South legal and advocacy director. “It is good to see that the city has finally realized that it cannot claim to be a welcoming space at the same time as it is making projects off of the detention of immigrants.”